The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) assessed the legal frameworks that govern land-use activities and investments in Zambia. The economy of Zambia relies significantly on land and natural resource capital. The Government of Zambia has identified land-use investments as essential to the development of key economic sectors – energy, forestry, mining and agriculture. Land-use investments are increasing in Zambia, led by both foreign and domestic private investors. The Constitution explicitly recognizes the importance of balancing the need to attract investments to develop the country with the need to ensure their environmental and social sustainability.
This Legal Assessment report for Zambia examines policy, institutional and legal frameworks and identifies four key challenges to the attainment of sustainable land-use investments, viz.
There are very few incentives that support sustainable land-use investments.
Customary land tenure remains insecure, with limited processes enshrined in the legal framework to uphold social safeguards, such as consultation with land users.
There is low institutional capacity to enforce the social and environmental safeguards that are established in law.
Access to information on investments is limited in Zambia, which reduces the potential for public scrutiny and participation.
The report further notes that any strategy to improve the sustainability of investments in Zambia will have to respond to the jurisdictional requirements of decentralized administration. The authors conclude that Zambia's legal and institutional framework, particularly its implementation and enforcement, should be strengthened to more effectively regulate sustainable investments that adhere to social and environmental safeguards.